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North to Ejve...............
The drive was very impressive with views of the fjord as we ran along side it for about 30km. Our destination was the mountain lodge in Rjukan “Rjukan Fjellstue” This was a traditional lodge for walkers and skiers. The sleeping arrangements, bunks with two to a room. I was to share with Brian our leader it was basic but clean. For the larger parties there was dormitory accommodation.

Morning bought breakfast and packed lunch. Ready for the walk of the route taken by the saboteurs, our guide worked at Vermork as chemist for 35 years and was a friend of Claus Heleberg one of the saboteurs who died in February of this year 2003. He told us of the history of heavy water production at Vermork starting well before the war, he also showed us a sealed glass jar containing heavy water D20. We set off on the walk remembering that we were walking in sunshine of August not the snow of the February winter.

   

Neither were we carrying anything, like explosive to blow the plant up, provisions for us, was just some sarnies, they would have to carry enough to sustain them after the attack, the plan being to ski out to neutral territory. We came to the Hut that the saboteurs stopped in and at this point ate our packed lunch we also ate blue berries and cloud berries picked by one of our group from the alpine meadow. More information about the trek was given and we also were given heavy water to drink from the sealed flask, and guess what? it tastes just like normal water.

Norsk hydro plant at Vermork Power Station
As we progressed I could see that we were entering a valley and start looking for what I know is on the opposite side of it. The image that I have known since childhood. The huge pipes leading down the hill to a large blockhouse building.

Then all at once I see them, through the leaves half hidden, also the trees on the other side shield them partially from view. Some moment for me, hard to take it all in and it makes me feel very emotional.

As I take the opportunity to fill my water bottle from a rushing stream, I find three small pine seedlings and feeling I wanted to bring the water and seedlings home with me, I put them in my sack.

We continued along the road towards the plant to meet up with Severane and our mini bus, which took us down to the power plant car park, where I was interviewed by the local press. We walked up to the Power Station that is now just a museum but intact, and watched an American film ”If Hitler had the Bomb” about the events in 1942/1943. We then spent some time looking at the exhibits, a big surprise was the photo of dad on display. I just had to point him out to the other visitors explaining “That’s my dad” and how proud I feel. I found myself telling a group of them how I came to be there through a young man who relayed questions back and forth, I didn't want to leave. It was a heck of a lot to take in.

 

Outside the museum I walk along the old railway track back towards the spot that the saboteurs crossed the gorge and made their way into the plant. I pass a small memorial stone with a plaque that tells of the deaths of Rjukan residents when the massive air raid took place and eventually destroyed the plant.

The Sinking of the Ferry

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